CHUFFED: Jason Attard’s Sons of John was off to a great start in his spring campaign. Picture: Geoff JonesHawkesbury trainer Jason Attard will be looking for his biggest race win of his relatively short training career after his star galloper Sons of John tasted success in the Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday. The gelding will be now aimed at Saturday week’s $1million Group 1 Epsom (1600m) at the same track.

Attard, along with partner Lucy, prepares his horses out of the historic Reibycroft Stud property – owned by Hawkesbury Race Club vice-chairman Syd Kelly and his wife Carolyn – and takes them to the nearby Hawkesbury track for fast work. However, the training method of mixing track work with swimming on the property, mixed with trips into to Mascot for beach work, has paid handsome dividends for the hard working couple.

Blake Shinn rode the six-year-old gelding for the first time on Saturday, and got him home in a close finish from representatives of Sydney’s two biggest stables, Torgersen (Chris Waller) and Federal (John O’Shea).

The $75,000 first prize lifted Sons Of John’s career earnings to just over $431,000. He has raced 23 times for seven wins and six placings, with two of the latter behind champion mare Winx at this time last year. Attard’s star was pipped on the post by Winx in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens and then finished third to her in Randwick’s Epsom. However, with the champion mare tasking a different path to Melbourne for the rest of the Spring Carnival, Attard’s confidence can be buoyed to go at least one better this year.

Attard, who also won last year’s Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) with Sons Of John, has won three races in the last 10 days.

He scored with Haymate on his home track on September 8, and then with Jimarni at Muswellbrook last Sunday week.

Thursday racing at Hawkesbury

Strong numbers again highlight a tricky day for punters for the provincial midweek meeting at Hawkesbury. Again all the top stables are represented and although a little rain has been around for the last week or so, strong winds and sunshine earlier in the week should see the track again race well, with a little give in it.

Following the meeting, the track will undergo a technique known as ‘slicing’, which is an aerator type machine which allows the ground to be opened up as the soil temperature warms up into the Spring.

After a long, wet Winter, the track is recovering well leading into a busy period of racing in to the Spring and Summer.

Following the meeting, the next oneis the ‘Flavours of the World’ Food, Wine and Music race day on Sunday, 9th October, which will feature a number of stall sampling local food, produce and wine. Again it will be a great day out for the whole family, with jazz and other local bands, a children’s fashion parade, great prizes for on course patrons and of course, plenty of action on the track.

Greg Rudolph is the CEO of Hawkesbury Race Club.

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